'Yotes Notes: Smith Practices on Wednesday
GLENDALE – Goalie Mike Smith practiced with some teammates on Wednesday a day after missing a start at Colorado because of illness.
Smith skated and competed at an optional workout in Scottsdale, and afterward Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said he’d wait until Thursday morning to discuss if Smith would be able to play goal in Thursday’s home game vs. the New York Islanders.
If Smith can’t play, backup goalie Thomas Greiss would make his third start within nine days.
“He’s earned the trust of his teammates,” Tippett said of Greiss, who stopped 29 of 30 shots in a 3-1 win vs. Colorado on Tuesday. “… And he’s well liked in the dressing room. He practices hard and he takes his role very seriously, and when he gets an opportunity to play he’s played very well for us."
Greiss made several key saves early in Tuesday’s game to keep the Coyotes from falling behind.
“It’s always nice to get work early, feel the puck, get in the game right from the get go and not have to wait around for a while and start thinking (too much),” Griess said when asked if he liked seeing lots of shots early in games.
• Captain Shane Doan, who has missed the past two games because of illness, did not practice on Wednesday.
“He’s still not going to be available for the foreseeable future,” Tippett said of Doan, who leads the team with 12 goals and is tied for second with 23 points. “He’s still getting some tests done so hopefully it’s not long-term.”
• Tippett said defenseman Derek Morris, who left the team last week because of a family matter, also would not be back for Thursday’s game but could return on Friday.
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who is nursing an upper-body injury, skated with teammates on Wednesday for the first time in several days.
Tippett said while that was a very good sign there is still no timetable for his return. Korpikoski last played on Nov. 16.
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• Defenseman Zbynek Michalek played 17:32 on Tuesday in his first game back from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for three weeks.
Tippett was pleased with Michalek’s performance.
“He was real solid, just what we expected from him,” Tippett said. “It was a good start for him to get back into action… I thought he was a real effective player for us last night.”
• Without Doan in the lineup, Antoine Vermette again wore an “A” on his sweater on Tuesday as the third alternate captain. Keith Yandle and Martin Hzanal, of course, are the regular alternate captains.
“It’s nice recognition and I appreciate it a lot, but with that being said it’s just a letter,” Vermette said. “In this group, there’s a lot of good veterans and good leadership all around. You don’t need a letter to be an influential player on this team. We’ve done a good job as a community, especially when you’re missing your captain.”